Sep 162010

There’s been some movement towards getting the Michigan State Budget sorted out – it must be completed by 1 October 2010 for the upcoming Fiscal Year.

Tuesday saw some “action” on reconciling differences between the Governor, the House and the Senate versions of the Department of Education budget, and it “seems” like there is agreement finally:

From the First Conference Report on Senate Bill 1154 (2010) the relevant sections are:

Sec. 801. In addition to the funds appropriated in part 1, the funds collected by the department for document reproduction and services; conferences, workshops, and training classes; and the use of specialized equipment, facilities, and software are appropriated for all expenses necessary to provide the required services. These funds are available for expenditure when they are received and may be carried forward into the next succeeding fiscal year.
Sec. 803. It is the intent of the legislature that the library of Michigan and the component programs currently within the library of Michigan shall be kept together in a state department.
Sec. 804. From the funds appropriated in part 1 and other funding available, the department and library of Michigan shall maintain custody of the non-Michigan genealogy and all Michigan specific collections. These collections shall continue to be made available to the public.

and from the Senate Fiscal Agency Bill Analysis of Senate Bill 1154 (Conference Report 1):

7. Library of Michigan. Conference agreed with the Revised Governor’s Recommendation which reduced GF funding by $1.1 million and eliminated the Federal Documents Collection, Regional Federal Depository program, interlibrary loan, and the Library’s participation in MelCat. Conference agreed to restore from the original cuts 2.0 FTEs and $165,200, and added another 1.0 FTE and $100,000 to maintain the non-Michigan genealogy collection and Michigan-specific collections.

and from the House Fiscal Agency Bill Analysis:

Sec. 803. Keep Library Functions Together – RETAINED
Provides intent that the Library of Michigan and its related programs be kept together in a state department.
Executive deletes. Senate and House maintain current law. Conference concurs with Senate and House.
Sec. 804. Keep Library Functions Together – NEW
Senate adds language that requires the department and Library of Michigan to maintain custody of all collections maintained, housed, owned, or otherwise kept by the Library in FY 2009-10 and prohibits the sale, lease or other disposal of those collections. Provides that the Library need not make the non-Michigan genealogy or federal documents collections available to the public.
House concurs with Senate. Conference modifies language stating the Library of Michigan shall maintain custody of non-Michigan genealogy and all Michigan-specific collections and they shall continue to make available to public.

So it seems like the House and Senate agree that:

  1. All of the genealogy – Michigan AND non-Michigan is to remain in the Library of Michigan – that means an end to the idea of moving some of it across to the other side of the White Pine to the Archives, where space would need to have been constructed to hold it.
  2. That it all continue to be made available to the public
  3. There is a small restoration of funding – ie the cuts aren’t quite as severe as initially thought so that the Library of Michigan will have 34 “Full Time Equated” staff

Now all we have to do is hope that Governor Granholm – who got us all into this mess by eliminating the Department of History Arts and Library to save a measly $2,000,000 – will sign what the lawmakers have finally all agreed on and not mess with it any more. Sadly, since some of the cuts were hers in the first place (identified above by Executive) she might still yet choose to keep these cuts and not follow the recommendations of the Conference reports.

And note that all of the above is about next year – 1 Oct 2010 to 30 Sep 2011. It says NOTHING about the year after that, which is expected to have another round of cuts, at least as severe as what we’ve seen so far!!

 Posted by at 9:03 am
May 192010

Today – 19 May 2010 – was the 5th public meeting of the Michigan Center for Innovation and Reinvention Board, and the 4th one that I’ve attended. I had expected that this would be the last meeting before the Governor’s deadline of 1 June, but apparently that deadline has been pushed back a bit. There will be 1 more meeting on 25 June 2010 12 – 2 PM so the Board members can review their report which should be written by then, and then it will be submitted to Governor Granholm after that.

Today I signed up to speak in the Public Comment part of the meeting, after listening to the Board members in their deliberations, which today largely focussed on what the contents of the report are likely to be. I had a prepared statement copied which was distributed to the Board members as I started speaking – good thing too, since as unaccustomed as I am to public speaking, I managed to miss a couple of the points I wanted to make, so hopefully they read them. Below is the text:

Continue reading »

 Posted by at 9:54 pm  Tagged with:
May 122010

When: Wednesday evening, 12 May 2010.
Where: Archives side of the Michigan Library and Historical Center, Lansing, Michigan
What: To Celebrate the 2010 Filby Award for Genealogical Librarianship Winner
Who: Randy Riley is the winner of the 2010 Filby Award for Genealogical Librarianship

The Michigan Genealogical Council, in conjunction with the Michigan State Archives and Museum put on a gathering to celebrate Randy Riley’s award of the 2010 Filby Award for Genealogical Librarianship. The venue was on the 2nd floor of the Michigan Historical Center, almost in amongst the exhibits.

The Backdrop

Looking over a table at the amazing backdrop for the evening - most of that is painted on the walls and ceiling.

A number of people with connections to genealogy in Michigan, and/or the Library of Michigan spoke glowingly of Randy’s contributions since joining the Library of Michigan.

Kim Harrison

Kim is a past president of the Michigan Genealogical Council, and currently works for On the left Randy is with Jan Alpert, President of the National Genealogical Society having just received the 2010 Filby Award.

The last speaker was the Man of Honour – Sir Randy of Filby (see below in photo gallery).

Randy's Speech

Randy was the last speaker. He spoke of the honour, and of how it is about the Collection and the Staff, not just about him.

A photo gallery of the evening follows… Continue reading »

May 042010
Randy Riley receives 2010 Filby Award

Randy Riley receives 2010 Filby Award. Photo by Tom Koselka.

Congratulations to Randy Riley, Special Collections Manager at the Library of Michigan on his receiving the Filby Award for Genealogical Librarianship at the National Genealogical Society Conference in Salt Lake City last Friday.

Here is the list of previous winners of the Filby Award:

  • 2009: No nominees met the qualifications for the Filby Award in 2009.
  • 2008: David Dearborn of New England Historic Genealogical Society, Boston, Massachusetts.
  • 2007: Curt Bryan Witcher of Allen County Library, Ft. Wayne, Indiana
  • 2006: Eric Grundset of DAR Library, Washington DC
  • 2005: Ron D. Bryant of the Kentucky Historical Society and the Kentucky State Parks Department
  • 2004: James Jeffrey of the Denver Public Library, Denver, Colorado
  • 2003: Carole C. Callard (1941–2005) of the Library of Michigan, Lansing, Michigan
  • 2002: Jim Hansen of the Wisconsin Historical Society Library, Madison, Wisconsin
  • 2001: Martha Henderson of the Mid-Continent Public Library, Independence, Missouri
  • 2000: Pamela Hall Cooper of Indian River County Public Library, Vero Beach, Florida
  • 1999: Lloyd DeWitt Bockstruck of the Dallas Public Library, Dallas, Texas

So a quick look at that list quickly reveals that the Library of Michigan is the ONLY facility to have won the award twice – 2003 awarded to Carole Callard and 2010 awarded to Randy Riley. That speaks VOLUMES to the prestige with which the Library of Michigan’s Genealogical collection is held in the genealogy community.

This is the very same Library of Michigan that Governor Granholm is trying very hard to eviscerate by starving it of funding, and placing it in the Department of Education – a department already seriously short of the funding needed to fulfil its primary purpose – Education – where it is now hit even harder by funding difficulties.

Instead this facility should be maintained as the treasure that it is for the treasure that it holds. Let’s hope that

  • the Michigan Center for Innovation and Reinvention Board realises this and makes the appropriate recommendations to Governor Granholm in their report;
  • Governor Granholm recognises the value of the report and the process that led to it and acts accordingly.

1 June, when the report is due, isn’t so far away.

Mar 152010

Today was a public meeting of the Michigan Center for Innovation and Reinvention Board – the Board put together by Governor Granholm to decide the fate of the Michigan Library and Historical Center in the wake of the disbanding of History Arts and Library (HAL) in 2009.

Western Michigan Genealogical Society was asked to make a presentation to the Board and that “honour” fell to me.

Below is the text of what I presented to them this morning in writing. I also got 3 minutes for a presentation, so read out my written submission, but omitted the parts that are in blue below to keep within the 3 minutes.

More comment on today’s event will follow in a separate posting this evening or tomorrow morning. Continue reading »

 Posted by at 4:08 pm
Feb 262010

Today’s Lansing State Journal has an article on the possible future of the Library of Michigan. So things still aren’t looking good and it seems that all of least year’s efforts – Hands Around the Library and MLA Rally at the Library not to mention all the letters, lobbying by individuals that went on have ended up with about a zero net effect on all of this – yes Governor Granholm did acknowledge the “pressure” when she amended her Executive Order, but what’s being talked about now seems to be worse than was imagined last Summer.

So given the grimness and probable inevitability of all of this, at least I’m somewhat cheered by this part of that article:

Robertson said the library still has yet to identify an agency or university willing to take on its federal depository and genealogy collections. Under one scenario, she said, the genealogical holdings could stay in the library if an interested group agreed to lease space there and staff the area.

Continue reading »

 Posted by at 1:07 pm
Sep 122009

Over the last several weeks we have heard several times that the proposed funding of $7,500,000 for Michigan libraries is only 50% of what is required by law.

What law?

And if it’s a law, why is not complying with it subject of legal action by someone – there’s no shortage of lawyers that’s for sure!!!!

So I set out to try and find out just where this “requirement” is. It turns out that this was laid down in Act 89 of 1977 – State Aid to Public Libraries, which contains a list of the requirements that must be met by libraries in Michigan, categorises them based on the population they serve and lays out the amount of state aid that they must receive. See here, here and here for several presentations of Act 89.

From State Aid Guidelines on page 3 we see this list of the funding categories required in Act 89.

PA89, §13 Public library cooperatives shall receive 50¢ per capita for their served population.

PA89, §16(2) Public libraries shall receive 50¢ per capita for their served population if minimum standards are met.

PA89, §16(4) Public libraries that meet minimum standards and are members of a cooperative library shall receive 50¢ per capita to pay for services provided by the cooperative.
All or part of this amount shall be used to purchase these services.

PA89, §16(4) A cooperative shall receive $10 per square mile for the area it serves if the area has less than 75 persons per square mile.

PA89, §16(5) County public libraries serving a population of 50,000 or less with a director who meets educational requirements can receive a maximum of $400 per month or $4,800 annually for salary reimbursement. A form must be filed quarterly by the county library to claim the reimbursement.

So while I’m certainly no lawyer, one has to wonder why if there’s a law, then this law can’t be enforced?!?!

The main thing I got out of the Rally at the Capitol was just how important it is that Michigan Libraries receive $10,000,000 in funding – “only” 2/3rds of the required $15,000,000 – so that they then receive the $5,000,000 in Federal money which is what by and large seems to pay forMeL and MelCat. The Governor is proposing $7,500,000, while the Senate is proposing $10,000,000.

How hard is to to realise that for a further measly $2,500,000 they would be able to treble their money, since that last $2,500,000 would trigger the Federal $5,000,000. That’s a return on investment that it ought to be criminal to turn down.

This page MHAL – Significant Dates in Michigan Library History should be required reading for all decision makers before they decide to underfund the Libraries of Michigan, so that they might get even a small grasp of what they’re about to undo before they go and undo it!!!!

And finally (maybe) this from writer Anne Herbert

“Libraries will get you through times of no money better than money will get you through times of no libraries.”

Sep 102009

Thursday 10 September 2009 was the day of the Michigan Library Association “Rally at the Capitol” where Librarians and other interested parties from across Michigan rallied to express their displeasure at the proposed funding cuts to Libraries in Michigan overall and specifically the plans to dismantle and disperse the collections of the Library of Michigan, which have been being collected for more than 180 years.

The theme of the day was RED – people were encouraged to show their support for Libraries by wearing a red shirt – and there were a LOT of RED shirts. Thanks in no small part to Gale Group of Michigan who were giving out free red shirts that said on the front “Protect Michigan Libraries”. Others were wearing red shirts from the Grand Rapids Public Library that said on the back “I ♥ Grand Rapids Public Library”.

Roger Moffat and Shirley Hodges on the Capitol Steps

Roger Moffat and Shirley Hodges on the Capitol Steps

The emphasis today in particular was to keep State funding for Libraries  at $10,000,000 – at this level there is a matching Federal $5,000,000 which is largely what keeps MEL – the Michigan Electronic Library and MelCAT operating. If the state funding drops to the proposed $7,500,000 then the Federal $5,000,000 will be lost, and MEL is in serious danger.

It was also the day chosen for Michigan Fire Services Awareness Day so there was a large presence of Firemen, and firetrucks present with displays of firefighting and HazMat equipment. I hope they knew we were coming, or else they got a large surprise when a crowd that was about the same size as the “Hands Around the Library” event a month earlier.

Below is a photo gallery of some photos from today with the “Sea of Red” or is that the “See of Read” perhaps?

Aug 052009

This is a photo gallery of some pictures taken during today’s “Hands Around the Library” Rally at the Michigan state Capitol, and the Michigan Library and Historical Center.

The count of 494 in the circle didn’t include everyone who was there, so it’s safe to say a crowd in excess of 500 was there to show their thoughts on Governor Granholm’s Executive Order which would see the Michigan Department of History, Arts and Libraries dismantled, and its components scattered hither and thither.

Thanks to Kyle and Zoe (my 1st cousins once removed-in-law) for being the banner bearers for much of the day.

Added 7 August 2009 – “borrowed” from Cindi Shearer who posted it as her facebook status, and first coined by writer Anne Herbert

“Libraries will get you through times of no money better than money will get you through times of no libraries.”